About Me

My Photo
My name is Cara and I am a book lover through and through! I do all things books at Appleseed Bookshop. I read, review, blog and am a published alt model. I also review for We Love This Book, Things and Ink and Starburst Magazine. Contact me if you would like a proof read and reviewed at thetattooedbook@yahoo.co.uk or follow me on twitter at twitter.com/thetattooedbook

Friday, 18 July 2014

The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit

The Wives of Los Alamos

They were called together from across the world, they were from London, Paris and all over the USA. At an average age of 25 they were young and just starting families but they upped sticks and followed their husbands. Dressed in their finest they landed in their new military homes, run down from the travel and beaten in the face by the dust that welcomed them. Some seemed to know more than others and they were aware there were words they could not say, censoring details of their life in coversations with their extended families that they left behind. None of the women knew it all though, then the bomb dropped and they realised what their husbands and friends had been working to create.

Written from a group perspective, this touching, true account of the women of Los Alamos (where the atomic bomb was created) gives an important insight into the secretive world they lived. Quietly supportive they all knew important, war related work was being carried out so they dug into their new lives, made friends and created new families. A large percentage of this book is based around their lives before the bomb, how they settled into the area and the secrecy they were placed under. This is fascinating but it is the chapters after the bomb has been dropped that truly grab the readers attention. Families are torn between pride and shame, the husbands are unsure if they should be holding their heads high or hiding away from the world. This book takes no view point and places no blame, it simply gives a snapshot into the family repercussions of a world changing discovery. A powerful and unusual read, I found The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit is an engaging and thought provoking book that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Buy The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit from Amazon here.

Buy The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit from The Book Depository here.

Buy The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit from Hive here.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The List of my Desires by Gregoire Delacourt

The List of My Desires

Jocelyne is content with her life, comfortable with her rounded body and even though they've been through some tough times, is happy with her husband. She runs a small sewing shop in a little French town and due to the lack of customers ends up spending a significant amount of time on her sewing blog, watching it's popularity increase with every passing day.

One lunchtime she chats with the twin sisters that run the beauty salon next door as they pick their lottery numbers, a habit that verges on addiction. As they discuss what they would do with the money if they won, they eventually convince Jocelyne to buy a ticket.

When she hears the winner is a local woman, she knows it her but instead of filling her with joy, it fills her with panic. She goes and collects her cheque in secret and is warned that her amazing good fortune comes with a price. People will change, her loved ones will see her differently, her children will now see a parent with money instead of their mother and she's warned divorces are common after big wins. She knows all the things her husband would want and she makes lists range from her largest spends to what she really needs. Things are going so well though, her husband is more attentive than ever, the blog is taking off and even the shop is busy so she decides not to cash the cheque but before she knows it the choice is out of her hands.

The synopsis of this novel may sound slightly twee and you may be mistaken that this would fall into the category of chic-lit but you'd be very wrong. The List of my Desires is a beautifully literary novel that captures both a woman in turmoil and a woman scorned. Jocelyn has put energy into accepting her life, we can all dream of more but she's made the decision to accept it. Knowing her husband is not as accepting she fears her life changing just when she's come to understand it and when it does, it breaks her. Poignant, articulate and touching, The List of my Desires is a great little book that is perfect to be devoured in one sitting.

Buy The List of my Desires by Gregoire Delacourt from Amazon here

Buy The List of my Desires by Gregoire Delacourt from Hive here

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Death Sentence by Monty Nero and Mike Dowling

Death Sentence

When Verity's diagnosed with the G+ Virus, a new sexually transmitted disease that's hits the streets, all she hears is that she's dying. Everyone knows about the side affects of the disease, the increase in strength and strange powers that sufferers develop before they succumb but with as little as six months left to live she runs from the doctors surgery, quits her job and starts to reach out to her loved ones. During a follow up visit back at the clinic she's told her test scores are through the roof, that she's turning into something quite remarkable and before she knows it she's surrounded by strangers trying to take her away. Scared and alone, her powers suddenly explode...literally, killing everyone around her. She runs but there are already others looking for her.

Across London the comedian superstar Monty wows his audience at The Southbank Centre. He's always had charm, leading to numerous sexual conquests and therefore his very public contraction of the G+ Virus. As his powers develop it becomes clear he can persuade and control peoples minds. As his power grows, his ego warps with it and his obsession with anarchy takes over. First he heads to Buckingham Palace, then he's got his eye on politics and tearing apart societies rules.

So who can stop a crazed psychopath taking over the world? Time to pit STD superpower against STD superpower!

The three main characters in this tale are Verity the artist, Weasel the musician and Monty the comedian (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Russel Brand). While the men are over the top and flamboyant, it's Verity that keeps the story grounded. As Monty turns into a head popping murderer it's Verity that continues on fighting, so I'm sure she'll steal the heart of many graphic novel fans.

Death Sentence is fast paced, brilliantly funny and completely unique. It looks great and really is great fun to read. There are so many graphic novels being released at the moment it can be really hard to know what new ones to try but this is a must read. I hear on the grapevine that there's more to come from Death Sentence in the future and I can't wait!

Buy Death Sentence by Monty Nero and Mike Dowling from Amazon here

Buy Death Sentence by Monty Nero and Mike Dowling from Hive here

Friday, 27 June 2014

The Stonehenge Letters by Harry Karlinsky

The Stonehenge Letters

When a retired psychiatrist and amateur historian delves into the history of the Nobel Prize his research is driving by anger and a need for self validation. For years he'd followed in the footsteps of the great Sigmund Freud, carving out a career in psychology buy why had this famous mind been ignored by the Nobel Prize committee?

His research is soon quashed by the secretive rules and regulations set around the prizes but when a freedom of information law is passed he is suddenly allowed access to a collection of paperwork that was previously hidden and among it he discovers the existence of an entirely new Nobel prize. The Stonehenge Prize.

Only open to Nobel laureates the Stonehenge Prize was a one off competition to solve the mystery of Stonehenge. With only four official applicants who would win the prize, Rudyard Kipling, Ivan Pavlov, Marie Curie or Teddy Roosevelt?

Harry Karlinsky's previous novel The Evolution of Inanimate Objects is one of my favourite debuts ever so I couldn't help but jump to read The Stonehenge Letters, then inwardly wonder if he could pull it off again. Two pages in and I was curled up, blissfully ignoring the world with a big fat grin on my face. Karlinsky continues with is unique fictional take on real life history and personalities, creating the entirely fictional Stonehenge Prize. Normally fact/fiction crossovers infuriate me, I simply cannot shut off my mind to the question 'but what's real?' There is something about Karlinsky's beautiful style and wit that this question didn't bother me at all until I had finished the novel (and for the fact obsessed like myself there are appendices to clear up any questions). He casts Nobel as a slightly sad genius, plagued by unrequited love and riddled with mental disorders (which the narrator classifies in the Appendix from a Freudian perspective) but a man whose gift to progression is immeasurable. Brimming with imagination, humour (I especially  enjoyed him referencing his own previous work) and intelligence I couldn't put The Stonehenge Papers down.

Buy The Stonehenge Letters by Harry Karlinsky from Amazon here.

Buy The Stonehenge Letters by Harry Karlinsky from Hive here.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin

A Slight Trick of the Mind

Sherlock Holmes is ninety three years old in 1947 and has recently returned from a trip to Japan. Having left London behind he resides in the secluded Sussex countryside where he tends his colony of bees and studies the anti-ageing effects of royal jelly. It is his research into holding back the degeneration of his mind that causes him to travel half way across the world, determined to see and taste a Japanese plants known for its anti-ageing effects.

As Sherlock's memory twists and fades, he reminisces about the people and places that have touched his life. His housekeeper and her fourteen year-old son who lived with him for years until their brutal and devastating separation, a woman who was involved in a case he investigated that caught his eye like no other and the Japanese man in search of answers and a father figure.

Before you lose yourself in the story of Sherlock, the first thing to strike you within the first page of this novel is Mitch Cullins enviable way with words. His poetic and evocative style is the perfect compliment to Holmes reflective state, leaving you deeply immersed in his world. Although this novel won't leave you jumping for joy there is something so beautiful about the tale and how it is told that the sad, nostalgic state you are left in is just as fulfilling. You cannot help but feel overwhelmed by the different griefs and pain that haunt each character, thinking back to them weeks (and mostly likely months) later. A Slight Trick of the Mind is not an attempt to continue the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories but an entirely separate look at a famous character who is slowly losing the skill that makes him so unique, beautiful yet devastating.


Thanks to the lovely people at Canongate Books I was able to submit a few questions to Mitch Cullin about his fabulous new novel:

When did the idea come to you to write a novel about an older Sherlock Holmes?

I always wanted to create my own take on the character since I was a boy, but it wasn't until my father began showing signs of memory that I felt the need to explore the character as someone following the same trajectory as my dad. That is why themes of memory, and how memory defines us, are integral to the story, as is the underlying motif of lost father figures.

Were you nervous or put off writing such a famous character?

Not so much, otherwise I wouldn't have even dared to write it. I was more concerned with making sure I was staying accurate to the details found in Conan Doyle's stories, with a few liberties taken here and there. My goal was to do my homework well so I could then work with the character from my own vantage point.

Did you do any specialist research into Sherlock and Arthur Conan Doyle before you started writing him or did you want to approach him purely from you own direction?

Well, at the time my desk was certainly cluttered with Sherlock reference books. Oddly enough, though, the bulk of my most exacting research was done on bees, post-war Japan, and issues of memory loss.

You describe some stunning and unique locations in A Slight Trick of the Mind, did you manage to visit any yourself?

I did, actually. I went to Japan, doing so after having written the first draft. And I went to most of the places there that I had already written about, just to see if I had been accurate. For the most part I was surprised at how well I had described these places prior to having ever visited them. The glaring exception was Hiroshima castle which, in the first draft, I had for some reason described as being on a hilltop. In fact, the castle was street level, so I had to go back and fix that mistake on my part.

Throughout the novel Sherlock refers to his own degeneration but never actually admits to being afraid of his own death, is this because you believed he would fear a lack of intelligence more than death?

I do believe that, for my version of the character, the loss of his intellectual faculties and the ability to maintain identity through memory was perceived as being no different than death. That gradual obliteration of the self would be for him, as it would be most of us I think, the same fear as dying in a way.

In a Slight Trick of the Mind, Sherlock meets a woman he knows almost nothing about but becomes highly enamoured with, do you think is as close as he could come to love?

It's a good question, but I am not sure I have a good answer for it. I think there is an aspect of the voyuer to the character of Sherlock, always watching and observing things, so I suppose that sense of detachment is also a form of safety and control. He can be engaged intimately with someone without having to get too close. That might work okay for cold reasoning, but it can get complicated when matters of the heart become involved. I guess the short answer would be, while I'd like to think otherwise, yes.
If Sherlock could say one last sentence to Mrs Keller what do you think it would be?
Oh boy, I have no idea. I suppose, perhaps, considering her fate, he would ask her the question for which there is no real answer: "Why?"

To buy A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin from Hive click here.

To buy A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin from Amazon click here.

To buy A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin from The Book Depository click here.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

The All Souls Trilogy Competition

At last the time has come! On the 15th of July 2014 the epic finale of The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness will hit bookshelves across the country. Diana and Matthew's world of witches, daemons and vampires returns and so does their search for the manuscript that holds the key to their past and their future.

If you've already devoured A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of the Night then you can treat yourself to the first chapter of The Book of Life for free on Deborah's website here.

If you haven't gotten caught up in this epic trilogy then you are in luck as I have a copy of each to give to one lucky winner.

To enter the competition, simply comment on this blog below or follow and retweet one of my competition tweets on my twitter. (competition open to UK residents only, closes Fri 15th of June 2014)

Good luck!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters

World of Trouble: The Last Policeman Book III

Following on from The Last Policeman and Countdown City, World of Trouble is the final installment in Ben H. Winters Edgar Award winning Last Policeman trilogy.

With just two weeks until a giant asteroid collidies with Earth, most likely wiping out mankind and Hank Palace finds himself as safe as he could possibly be. Sharing a country home with a handful of other law enforcers and their families, he was lucky to escape the town of Concorde alive. But even has he's tucked up safely with friends, food, water and a roof over his head, he still knows he's going to have to leave. He made a promise to his sister when their parents died that he would always be there for her and he let her down.

The last time he saw her she had saved his life, the time before that he had all but laughed in her face. Nico had tried to explain the last hope for mankind was a scientist who had figured out a way of changing the trajectory of the asteroid at the last minute. The group of people she had joined with were freeing him from where he was help and helping him achieve his goal. Hank obviously didn't believe her for a second but there was one niggling doubt in the back of his head. When she had saved his life, she had picked him up in a helicopter and gotten him medical attention, if this group of students were just a rabble of nobodies then how did they get their hands on helicopter?

Pushing these thoughts to the back of his mind he sets out to find her, with a little help from Houdini the dog and his unlikely sidekick, Cortez. Along the way they meet a handful of people, all preparing for the end of the world in their own way but as he slowly tracks Nico down there is no way that he could prepare himself for what he will find and no way he could predict where he will spend his final day.

After two emotional investigations with Hank you cannot help but tear into this novel, dying to know how it will all end but slowing in the final pages to make the most of it. Hank is the classic American cop and good guy, keeping to his word and sticking to the law. This finale is obviously a little bit more philosophical and heartfelt than the previous two novels as the main storyline is based around what is left of his family, Nico and the small amount of time he has left to find her. As always, he has to throw himself into some tricky situations to discover the truth, leaving him beaten by a horse, locked in a barn and tasered, although not shot this time. Full of twists, turns and surprises it is hard to give any plot details without spoilers but Hank is great hero and World of Trouble really delivers the gripping story that you would be expecting after the previous excellent books. There's no easy way outs, happy endings or 'it was all a dream,' Winters full on faces his characters predicament with refreshing logic and realism. 

The entire Last Policemen trilogy is excellent and World of Trouble is no exception. We can but hope Ben H. Winters has another character just as great coming in the future to replace the lovable Hank Palace.

Buy World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters from Book Depository here

Buy World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters from Amazon here

Buy World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters from Hive here